How Long is an Asbestos Training Valid For?

If you want to be part of the construction industry in New Zealand, it’s essential that you undergo asbestos training. This is because you need a specific set of skills to handle asbestos properly.

Indeed, just one wrong move can send microscopic fibres flying everywhere. If anyone inhales these asbestos fibres, they can be at serious risk of developing diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma (a type of cancer that forms in the linings of the lungs, heart, and abdomen).

All in all, asbestos-related deaths number up to 170 every year—an alarming figure, considering that the construction industry is one of the biggest in New Zealand and is expected to maintain steady growth until 2028. These facts make asbestos training even more crucial.

Who Should Take an Asbestos Training Course?

Anyone who has the potential to come across asbestos in their daily work activities should have proper asbestos training. If you expect to handle asbestos in any way, you need to take either friable (Class A) or non-friable (Class B) asbestos removal courses. These courses are both essential if you want to be able to supervise asbestos removal.

If you aren’t going to handle asbestos but are likely to come into contact with it, an asbestos awareness training program would be more than sufficient. Essentially, you need to know how to avoid risks associated with asbestos and how to protect people in the workplace (including yourself, of course) from these risks.

How Long Is the Validity of an Asbestos Training Course?

In New Zealand, the validity of asbestos training courses may vary—it often depends on which licence you have (e.g., Class A or B, supervisor, assessor). The expiry date can be found on your identification document, along with the licence number and other important details. Make sure to renew your licence before it expires if you want to continue your construction profession. Here’s some guidance from WorkSafe.

On the other hand, asbestos awareness certificates usually don’t expire. However, it’s recommended to take a refresher course at least once every year or more frequently if the level and risk of exposure are significantly higher.

Why Is a Refresher Course Necessary?

Asbestos is known in the construction industry as the “hidden killer” in quite the literal sense. Even those who undergo proper training can’t see asbestos fibres with their naked eyes (though they know where asbestos may be found).

It’s also not easily identifiable, and there is no immediate bodily reaction when you get into contact or inhale the fibres. In fact, the effects can take years to manifest In short, asbestos is often out of sight, out of mind.

By taking refresher courses, construction professionals can make sure that their knowledge about asbestos is not only fresh but also always at the forefront. It can also reinforce a person’s understanding of the substance and what makes it a hazard. This is ultimately better for risk reduction, risk management, and safety.

What’s more, like other bits and pieces of information, asbestos facts and other crucial information can fade away over time. A refresher course can help renew this knowledge, as well as serve as a supplement in case there have been updates or new scientific discoveries regarding asbestos.

What Is Usually Covered in an Asbestos Training Course?

Different asbestos training courses cover different topics. Some of the most important details are as follows:

  1. Class A and Class B Asbestos Removal Course

  • How to prepare the asbestos for removal
  • How to prepare the entire removal site and the specific area for removal
  • Decontamination and clean-up processes
  • How to comply with documentation requirements
  1. Asbestos Supervisor Course

  • How to prepare an asbestos removal plan
  • How to prepare a site for asbestos removal
  • How to supervise different activities involved in the removal process
  • How to properly oversee the asbestos removal and site decontamination
  • How to provide support to the asbestos removal team
  1. Asbestos Assessor Course

  • How to plan the assessment process of asbestos removal
  • How to prepare and collect data (e.g., site measurements)
  • How to use measuring devices to collect data
  • How to evaluate results and document accordingly to meet requirements
  1. Asbestos Awareness Course

  • What is asbestos, its properties, and how it affects one’s health
  • The different kinds of asbestos and where they can be found
  • What are ACMs or asbestos-containing materials
  • What to do if asbestos is accidentally released
  • How to minimise and avoid risks from asbestos
  • How to use PPE when the need arises

Much like any other job, you need to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge when you go into construction. These skills and knowledge don’t only cover the physical aspect; you also need to be aware of all the hazards you may possibly encounter—and asbestos is one of them.

With proper asbestos training and regular refresher courses, you can perform your job well and ensure everyone’s safety in the workplace at the same time.

CC Training Academy is the premier provider of asbestos training in New Zealand.